A stand out title when it was revealed at E3 2012, Ubisoft Montreal’s new game Watch Dogs continues to capture interest from potential players – exceeding already high expectations with an impressive gameplay demo at E3 2013. While the interconnected (and hackable) world of the title has been an intriguing setup from the time of its announcement – which also included a brief, albeit very mysterious, tease at multiplayer. Surprisingly, few details were revealed over the course of the subsequent year, and even though the E3 2013 demo gave us a taste of the combat as well as competitive online functionality, there are still a lot of Watch Dogs questions left to be answered.
However, that doesn’t mean the Ubisoft PR team has gone dark. Now that E3 is behind them, with a November 19th release date looming head, the developer is offering answers to questions from the latest round of gameplay demos – presumably before they start ramping up pre-launch reveals and marketing.
In an effort to address some of the biggest “frequently asked questions,” Ubisoft Communications Associate Anne Lewis took to the developer’s blog and offered-up some intriguing behind-the-scenes insight. Lewis touches on a number of subjects, including the game’s gorgeous Disrupt engine, immersive environmental effects, dynamic AI inhabitants, and robust reputation system, so make sure to check out the full article over at the Official Ubisoft Blog.
That said, one of the more interesting answers provided was in regard to concerns that Watch Dogs‘ open-world multiplayer might actually have a negative impact on the single player experience. Lewis points out that the balance between multiplayer and campaign experiences have been carefully considered and the team included plenty of options to ensure that a gamer’s immersion (and fun) isn’t ruined by invading online players:
“When you’re in your game, you won’t see other players just running around wreaking havoc […] The only time another player will actually enter your world is when they accept a contract with your name on it. From there they can creep through your city streets, stalking you until they decide to strike. They will appear to you as any other Chicagoan, just like you would appear nondescript to them should you invade their game. There will never be two Aidens on the screen.”
“Though the engine is built with this connectivity in mind, it can be turned off for players who prefer to explore unhindered by any outside influences. The multiplayer will also be unavailable during story missions, so you don’t need to worry about hackers while you’re in the middle of an important moment.”
Among players who are interested in the title, the frequency and implementation of outside players invading the campaign was a chief concern. It’s a relief to know that the multiplayer elements will be somewhat subtle and won’t allow online players to interrupt advancement in single player missions or story progression. Similarly, it’s not a stretch to imagine that some Watch Dogs gamers will not want to bother (or be bothered) with the hacking multiplayer mechanic, so it’s good to hear the feature can also be disabled entirely.
In addition, Lewis mitigated rumors that current-generation gamers would be missing key Watch Dogs features (features that would only be available on PS4 and Xbox One) – promising that PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers would not be missing any features:
“There are no trimmed-down mechanics to make you feel as though you are missing out on the core experience. Watch Dogs is truly a next-gen game — not just in terms of offering cutting edge graphical performance on the next generation of consoles, but also when it comes to the gameplay, the immersion and the seamless online experience.”
Still, Lewis also made sure to toe the company line and tout the benefits of Disrupt engine on next-generation hardware, quoting Senior Producer Dominic Guay:
“Players are going to know they aren’t getting a bad experience if they play Watch Dogs for the current gen, but the next gen is the real HD experience. You can zoom in another level. You can have better shaders, better simulation on the wind or the water, more particles, better atmospherics… Basically anything you can get with more computing power.”
No doubt, many gamers are planning to play Watch Dogs on the PS4 or Xbox One (though you’d better hurry, console pre-orders are selling out) but it’s good to know that Ubisoft fans who aren’t ready to take the next-generation plunge will still get to enjoy the developer’s latest game without any significant alterations.
Watch Dogs releases November 19, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U, and will also be available for the PS4 and Xbox One.
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